FLORISSANT, Mo. – Congresswoman Cori Bush hosted an emergency briefing Thursday on the radioactive waste found at Jana Elementary School.

Bush discussed the next steps that should be taken to insure the safety of students and staff. She said before she was elected as a congresswoman, she actively worked in collaboration with parents and advocates to clean up the radioactive contamination at Coldwater Creek.

“These agencies are responsible for the waste, and they must clean it up immediately,” Bush said. 

The call to action comes after a new report shows elevated levels of radioactive contamination from nearby Coldwater Creek. Bush said in an afternoon virtual meeting that she is joining parents in demanding immediate clean up after launching investigations and introducing legislation. 

In January, a report by an independent Massachusetts company raised the alarm about radioactive contamination throughout the school and outside the school, including the playground.

The company also acknowledges that they found radioactive contamination inside homes near the Bridgeton Landfill in 2017 and that the EPA followed up with a thousand-page report disputing his findings.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has found unsafe levels along Coldwater Creek adjacent to the school as well but disputes the current independent study. 

The congresswoman sent a letter to United States Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lieutenant General Spellmon demanding their agencies remediate radioactive contamination within Jana Elementary and hold a public briefing for community members regarding their efforts. 

“As a lifelong resident of St. Louis, I have been actively working to improve safety in this area for years, and as a parent and Congresswoman,” Bush said. “I am extremely concerned about the health and safety of our children, parents, educators, administrators, and community members as a result of exposure to this waste your agencies both created and are responsible for cleaning up. Our St. Louis community is in urgent need of clarification on what steps your agencies are taking to remediate the concerns from this recent report. We need to see swift action to ensure that we minimize disruptions to the lives of our children and families.” 

The independent company claimed no one from the government asked the company for the sampling techniques, so they sent it to them hoping to start a conversation. 

At a school board meeting on Tuesday, it was announced that Jana Elementary School will be moving students to virtual learning. The goal is to redistrict them to other schools by next semester. 

Jana Elementary School sits near Coldwater Creek, which was used as a dumping ground for the Manhattan Project’s radioactive waste in the 1940s and 50s. Decades later, those same toxic contaminants can still be found in the creek. Currently, there is no public signage in place along the creek’s shore warning of the dangers the potentially radioactive areas pose to community health and safety, despite requests from county officials dating back to the mid-1990s. In May, Bush introduced the Coldwater Creek Signage Act, legislation that would require signage about the dangers of toxic contaminants found in the creek.  

To read the full text of the letter, click here.